Skip to main content

Since January, art students from UT have been working with kindergarteners through second-graders at Maynard Elementary School in Knoxville to create a mural in the school’s library.

UT students Jacqueline Wright (left) and Kayla Duncan (top) work with students in kindergarten through second grade to complete a mural in the Maynard Elementary School library.
UT students Jacqueline Wright (left) and Kayla Duncan (top) work with students in kindergarten through second grade to complete a mural in the Maynard Elementary School library.

Students are completing the mural this week, and the finished work will be unveiled at 4 p.m. Monday at the school at 737 College Street.

The project was led by UT graduate student Jillian Hirsch, who has extensive experience in facilitating community art projects, with assistance from Adrien Jones, the community school site coordinator for Maynard Elementary.

With the help of Jason Brown, associate professor of sculpture at UT, Hirsch and the undergraduate students applied for and received a grant from the UT Office of Community Engagement and Outreach to help pay for materials. The project was also supported by the UT School of Art and the UT Foundation.

The UT students guided the elementary schoolchildren, first teaching them basic painting skills, color theory, and composition, then deciding on a theme and planning the mural, and finally putting paint on the walls.

Detail of the mural being painted by UT students and grade-school children in the Maynard Elementary School library.
Detail of the mural being painted by UT students and grade-school children in the Maynard Elementary School library.

“It’s important that community art is democratic and that the creation and installation of artwork cultivates a sense of community,” said Hirsch. “I believe that art created by a community can establish and reinforce bonds between people and place, and acts as a conduit for dialogue, connection, and education.”

The six undergraduate students working on this project are receiving course credit for their efforts. They hope to continue working with the Maynard students on additional projects, such as a mosaic in the cafeteria.

“Eventually, we would like to hire a coordinator to help facilitate art projects at local schools, perhaps as a club or as an extracurricular research opportunity for our students,” said David Wilson, director of the School of Art.

The UT students who participated in this project were Kayla Duncan, an art major from Bristol, Tennessee; Morgan Meschede, a 2D studio art major from Friendsville, Tennessee; Ashley Bergner, a 2D studio art major from Knoxville; Amanda Beasley, an art history major from Lebanon, Tennessee; Alexandria Bullard, a 2D studio art major from Talbott, Tennessee; and Jacqueline Wright, an art major from Knoxville.

CONTACTS:

Amy Blakely, UT media relations (865-974-5034, ablakely@utk.edu)

Ellen Orner, School of Art (865-974-3195, eorner@utk.edu)

Adrien Jones, Maynard Elementary (865-255-1814, ajones@greatschoolspartnership.com)